Posted on | June 29, 2015 | Comments Off
It’s an interesting thing, being a mommy. You go from stalking Vogue magazine for the newest Spring fashions to setting alarms on your phone to catch a limited edition cloth diaper release from your favorite retailer.
Well, not always, of course. I still love a good pair of boyfriend jeans, but most of my “fun money” tends to go to cloth diapers or cute clothes for the boys.
There seems to be an absolute flood of retailer exclusives and limited edition diapers being released this season. In addition to the limited diapers, new colors and prints are popping up left and right, leaving moms (and dads!) scrambling to their PayPal accounts and hiding credit card bills from their less understanding spouses. One of my favorite brands, Rumparooz, has released at least two new colors or prints every month this spring. Their most recent releases, Scarlet and Nautical are perfect for the Fourth of July and summer season. They also put out Poppy, Orchid, and Dandelion. These bring colors are perfect for the summer days.
Another great brand is Smart Bottoms, and they have started a trend of releases exclusives to retailers. I think retailer exclusives are awesome. They build suspense, bring a great deal of business to a particular retailer, and these retailers get to decide what diaper to release. It is an interesting reflection of the retailers’ personalities and likes. Abby’s Lane released a Rainbow Love Smart Bottoms diaper that I am absolutely obsessed with. The colorways were different for every diaper, so lots of people did trades to make sure they got a color way they liked. I was indifferent and thought they were all beautiful. Lil Tulips has released Sea Adventure, Kelly’s Closet did Atomic Blast, and recently, Lali’s Fluff did Patriot. They are all adorable, and Smart Bottoms is totally killing it on prints.
Everyone from AppleCheeks to BumGenius are on it this season. What happens to be your favorite? How do you feel about exclusives and all these releases?
Posted on | June 10, 2015 | 5 Comments
Yesterday, my Facebook Newsfeed presented me a gem of a status update. It went something like this:
The breastfeeding movement is irritating and rude. No one needs to see your boobs. You should cover up or go somewhere private. Taking a big poo is natural too, but I don’t encourage you to do it in public.
(I’m paraphrasing as I have since defriended the status updater, but this is the jist).
The resulting comments were a mix of very (rightfully so) offended mothers who have fed their children through both bottle and breast, and other women who proclaimed, “Here, here!” “Amen!” “My husband says he’s going to start taking pictures of my kid’s poop because it’s “natural” too!” and so on. Every. Single. One of the negative comments were from OTHER WOMEN. The original poster is a young women who is not yet married and who does not yet have children. Her profile is filled with pictures of her in cleavage baring dresses and several in bikinis. Clearly, there is no issue taken with showing off a woman’s body to appeal to the masses in a sexually attractive way. The takeaway is basically, “Boobs are made for sex, and seeing them in a non-sexual way offends me.”
I feel it necessary to explain what breastfeeding is. Breastfeeding is natural, normal, healthy, and the way our bodies were made to feed our children. It’s exhausting. It’s lonely. It’s difficult and sometimes painful. It can be draining, toe-curling, and messy. It’s working to get the right latch and questioning over and over if baby is getting “enough” to eat. It’s clumsy initially (and sometimes even later). In our society, it’s often isolating. I can’t tell you the number of times I set up shop in the back room of a house to feed my first two boys while everyone else hung out together. It’s demanding but beautiful and special. It’s late nights in a rocker and little hands on your chest. It’s endless breast pads to keep from accidental lactation leakage. It’s let down in the middle of the grocery store when someone else’s baby cries. It’s limiting the glasses of wine you can have after a long day. It’s an amazing bonding moment when you think you’ve reached your limit. Breastfeeding is getting to know your little one in ways no one else can. It’s being the sole provider of life. Breastfeeding is a blessing I am so grateful to be able to experience, even through the haze and fog of newborn exhaustion.
Breastfeeding my child is not:
1) A way for me to seduce your husband.
2) A tool to make other mamas feel guilt for their feeding methods.
3) An outlet for the exhibitionist in me.
4) A political statement.
5) A tactic to offend other women around me.
6) The same as having sex in public (and really, if you think this, please get help).
7) The same as pooping or peeing in public (see above).
8) An excuse for me to show off my boobs.
Now that we’ve cleared that little bit of non-sense up, I want to address another issue: WHY are so many women putting down other women over breastfeeding? Let me explain something; I don’t use a cover when breastfeeding, for the most part, because it’s already 97 degrees here, and my two-week-old doesn’t deserve to be smothered by a blanket. Additionally, he thrashes and cries when he’s covered, so there’s that. If I leave a room to nurse, it’s for my own comfort level. I generally prefer to not nurse in front of large groups of men simply because we have not created a culture where nursing is the norm. I don’t feel comfortable nursing in front of men because we have not nurtured an environment that would allow me to feel more at ease. I do, however, nurse in front of women willingly and openly. I never expect them to be offended or to say mean things about me or behind my back because I feed my baby in front of them. However, yesterday’s post reminded me that many women are still silently judging and stewing over mothers breastfeeding in public, and to them I say, “Shame on you.” Really. What a disgusting, outdated, and quite frankly, MEAN opinion to have. I would say the same to any men with a negative opinion, but honestly, I haven’t met one yet that had something awful to say about breastfeeding moms. Perhaps, those with negative feelings about breastfeeding should focus your judgment on the parents who aren’t caring for their babies. The parents who neglect and abuse. The parents who abandon, ignore, or resent their children. Is the way a mother feeds her child any of your business or concern? As long as baby is getting fed and is happy, WHY do you feel the need to publicly shame mothers for their choices. I can only hope that these women one day struggle to feed their screaming newborn under a blanket and recognize the absurdity of their prior opinions. I find their cruel voices to be such a hindrance to all mamas doing the best we can.
I nurse in front of our big boys in hopes that they will develop a healthy, normal, and positive view of breastfeeding. The first time, they asked a million questions, and now? It’s second nature and no big deal. I hope that someday, if their spouses make the choice to breastfeed their children, they will step up and be supportive and protective of their wives. I hope they will help mothers feel at ease nursing in public by offering a supportive smile.
Most of all, I hope that rude Facebook post I saw yesterday will be one less today. I hope someone will think twice about insulting and degrading mothers. I hope we can create a culture where women can breastfeed comfortably, or not. Where we can just do what we think is best for our babies without hateful comments and remarks.
Posted on | June 4, 2015 | 1 Comment
We are approaching the end of week two with Teddy, and we began using cloth as soon as we got home from the hospital. I’ve used disposables here and there because we discovered that he didn’t fit in most of the diapers we had saved for him without a great deal of bulk. Bulk bothers me. I know it doesn’t affect function, and most people aren’t bothered by it, but I can’t get past an overly fluffy butt. I scrounged around and was able to add to our newborn stash, so we are now 100% back in cloth for wee Teddy. Also, his cord has fallen off, but we used cloth before that happened with no irritation or problems. Here are my easy cloth diapering tips:
1) All-in-ones rock for newborns:
Now, these are not the most economical choices. At about $15.00 a piece, there are MUCH cheaper ways to cloth diaper a newborn. But, you cannot beat the ease of an all-in-one, and for our little bitty, the fit is awesome. Also, resale is amazing on these brands because the diapers hold up beautifully. I will get about 75-85% of my investment back when I sell these after Teddy outgrows them. I like all three of these diapers equally and am happy to grab for any of them. He is rash-free, and the materials are so soft. Adjusting is breeze, and I would highly recommend any of these brands.
2) Wash often:
I know. Doesn’t sound like a lazy mama tip does it? But let me tell you, fight those stinkies before they start. Washing every other day keeps your diapers fresh and stain-free. I do a little squirt of Bac-out on diapers before they get tossed in the wetbag, and I wash every other day. Sure, stains happen, and if you truly don’t care about them, then you can go longer. But remember, you’ll have a bigger pile to fold and put away, and you may not get as much back when you go to resell.
3) Be okay with what works:
In the first couple of days Teddy was home, I realized some of our “newborn” stash was too big on him, and the diapers were useless to me. I had to put him in a rotation of cloth and disposables because I simply did not have enough. Also? We are using disposable wipes. It’s easier for me right now when I’m changing diapers every hour or so. For some people, cloth all around is easier. FIND WHAT WORKS! Be okay with it. You aren’t “failing” if you use a mixture of disposable or cloth. These first few weeks are all about survival.
4) Prep, prep, prep:
Make sure all your diapers are fully prepped. Nothing sucks like having to change an entire outfit/swaddle/blanket/and mama because of a soaked newborn at 3:15AM. I haven’t had a single leak on any of my diapers because I fully prepped this time. With Arlo, we battled leaks for a couple of weeks until my diapers finally went through the wash enough.
5) Set up changing stations:
I have wipes in my living room, a station in Teddy’s nursery, and diapers and wipes with a wetbag set up in my room. It makes it so much easier when you’re trying to recover. Newborns need changing often. Every two hours is about the longest we can go because Teddy is nursing almost constantly. Things slow up once they are getting longer stretches of sleep, but in the beginning, running back and forth to the changing table is exhausting.
6) Sun is your friend:
Got a stain? Sun it out. Don’t even worry about sticking diapers in the dryer. Just lay them out in the summer sun for a few hours.
7) Be patient with the process:
Cloth is a learning process. As babies grow and change, so do their diapering needs. Brands you once loved may no longer work. Brands you used to hate may become your favorites. You may have to tweak your wash. Baby may prefer stay-dry materials, or baby might need natural materials to keep from being rashy. Be patient. Be flexible. Look into the buy/sell/trade boards, and get comfortable with a revolving stash until you figure out what works best for you and your family.
Have you cloth diapered a newborn? Any tips you would like to add?
Posted on | June 3, 2015 | 4 Comments
It has been a week and a day since our sweet Teddy joined this world. Despite his dramatic entry, the time he has been at home has been calm and relaxing. The big boys had a couple of days here to get to know their brother before my mom whisked them away to her house and the beach. They are having such a great time on their vacation, and while our house is quiet and empty without them, we thought this time to themselves was important. They come home on Friday, and Taylor and I can’t wait to see them again.
Taylor has been off of work since the Memorial weekend, so I have had so much help with him at home. Additionally, a dear girlfriend of mine set up a meal train for us, and friends have been bringing home cooked meals every day. Y’all. If there is one thing you can do for a new mother, set up something like this. Not having to cook has been such a blessing, and I am so appreciative for all the help and kindness.
You know, I honestly had it in my mind that I would bounce back quickly from labor. Going into my pregnancy in shape and working out throughout certainly helped my pregnancy be an easier one. My blood pressure never climbed like it did in my previous pregnancies. I gained just 17lbs. I never retained too much water or had lots of swelling. The only issues I really had were the typical pregnancy issues like restless legs and heartburn. Pregnancy was a breeze, and like I mentioned in Teddy’s birth story, I was still working out regularly at 38+ weeks.
However, the hemorrhaging I had after labor has really taken a toll on me. Obviously, it’s only been a little over a week, and I can’t expect to feel “normal,” but I feel quite a bit worse than I anticipated. I can’t really describe it other than being completely wiped out. Anything more than doing a load of laundry really knocks me down. I’ve tried to get out of the house a little every day (a grocery store trip here, a drive to look around potential neighborhoods there), and I always end up looking at Tay and asking to head back home. I haven’t tried to drive yet except to drop Taylor off at a neighbor’s house just up the road. I’ve lost all but one pound of my pregnancy weight, but I am absolutely starving all the time. I seriously eat all day long trying to get enough energy to nurse and just function. I’m bleeding, still, and more heavily than I did with my other postpartum experiences (not scary heavy, but enough to leave me drained). I’ve been incredibly engorged and have already put away 80+oz of breastmilk. I’m grateful oversupply is my issue rather than undersupply, and Teddy is still nursing like a champ, so I can’t really complain. Though it does suck to wake up in a puddle of milk every morning. I have to start and end my day with a hot shower to help all my aches and pains and engorgement. I hurt all over despite only having a very small tear. People keep asking me when I plan on getting back to the gym. They know how much CrossFit means to me and how much I enjoy it. But the truth is, even walking to the mailbox sounds like an extreme challenge right now. It will definitely be at least six weeks before I’m back at the box, and that will only be with doctor approval. I don’t want to prolong this healing process anymore than necessarily, and I fear pushing it too soon could end really badly. I will try to start doing some long, slow walks next week if I feel better. Otherwise, it may be a couple of weeks before I’m up and moving better. Next week, I’ll have no choice but to tackle the house work alone to ensure the house is show ready every day, but Taylor has been so helpful with doing anything I need. We will try to get in some sort of routine that leaves as little work as possible for me in the mornings.
I’m taking an iron supplement, my usual prenatal vitamin, vitamin D, B12, and fish oils in hopes of rebuilding my levels, and I’m trying to focus on eating as well as I can. Sleeping when the baby sleeps has gotten me through this week, but Sunday we have our Open House, and next week it will be all the boys and me at home, so that will no longer be an option. Fortunately, my mom and sister will be here to help us this weekend, and my mom is coming back next weekend to help again (seriously, how did I get so lucky to have this kind of help?).
I don’t write this to complain and whine. I don’t write it to be dramatic. I am so incredibly thankful to God that I am here to write this and that the experience wasn’t worse than it was. I’m writing it to give other mamas solace that they are not alone. I have had a hard time finding testimonies about other mom’s experiences with postpartum hemorrhaging (PPH), and it is easy to feel like you’re not healing right or something is wrong with you because you just don’t know what it’s “supposed” to be like recovering from something like this. The only information I can really find is clinical write ups that include information about PPH depression (apparently, really common) and chances of PPH after coming home (which, really, do you need to scare us even more?). A few friends have reached out to me through private messages because they had similar experiences, and hearing from them has been so comforting. Not because I would wish this on ANYONE, but because it is nice to know what I am going through is not unusual for what my body had to overcome.
My advice to other mamas and their partners is to just be patient. Try not to be frustrated at what you can’t do. You simply won’t be able to do all that you want to. Try to be okay with it. Believe me. I know it’s hard to feel like you can’t even shop for groceries without struggling. This too shall pass. Spend lots of time on the couch snuggling your new squish (and big kids!). The boys are going to be watching quite a few movies next week. I’m also setting up a few play dates at places like Chick-fil-a where they can play, and I can watch without having to chase after them or have Teddy in too much sun or heat. I think I’ll head to Walmart this weekend to get a kiddie pool, some playdoh, and a few little activities that will keep the big kids entertained without a whole lot of work from me. To the partners, just be there. Understand that sometimes, your spouse may crash and while it can be a little scary, if you’re there to help out, they will feel much more supported and safe. Having Taylor pick up all the loose ends has eased my guilt at being out-of-commission. Most of all, mamas, be kind to yourself. This is just a season in your life.
Posted on | May 30, 2015 | 8 Comments
Theodore Atticus (Teddy) arrived on Wednesday morning at 11:13AM after almost twenty-four hours of labor. I want to go ahead and give the heads up that, much like my other two births, this labor and delivery did not go exactly as planned. If you’re looking for a natural birth story where every thing goes to a T, you should probably skip this one. However, unlike the others, I had such a better experience when it came to feeling supported and listened to during my experience. My hospital staff was absolutely incredible. My nurses were amazing. The OB who delivered Teddy was perfection. Here’s our story:
Monday was Memorial Day. At our CrossFit box, the gym was running a hero work out known as “Murph.” Taylor and I got there with the boys around 10:30AM to cheer on the athletes and get a little work out in ourselves. I headed to the squat rack and started doing a slow triplet of three squats, three pull ups, two sled pushes. I added a little weight every round, and I had just done my second squat at 115lbs when I felt a thump. I stood back up, and water gushed down my legs like someone had turned on a bath tub faucet. I racked the weight, turned to look at Taylor, and said, “Um, Tay, my water broke…we need to go.” He started laughing, and we gathered up the boys while I waddled to the car with a towel between my legs.
We were supposed to show our house that morning, but obviously, that wasn’t going to happen. I hopped in the shower while Taylor fed the boys. We made calls to the people who were coming to help watch Sully and Arlo while we were at the hospital and before our families arrived. I went back and forth between the birth ball and sitting on the toilet trying to get some contractions going. They were there, but very mild and not at all consistent. At about 2:30PM, we decided to head on to the hospital. I was GBS+ again, and honestly, being at home was far from relaxing between the kids and the dog. Our good friends arrived to watch the boys, and we made our way.
When we checked in, I was still not having any contractions and was at about 2cm. I walked and walked some more, bounced on the ball some more, and four hours later, still nothing. At this point, I agreed to being put on the lowest level of pitocin in order to hopefully get contractions going. The nurses and OB were all absolutely fine with me walking around, taking a shower, doing whatever I could to try to get things moving. Eventually, the contractions picked up. They became incredibly uncomfortable, but they still were not regular. After about six hours on pitocin, they took me off and checked me again. I was at 3cm. We decided to let me try to labor on my own for awhile off the pitocin to see if I could try to progress some more. For several more hours, I labored in the shower, on the ball, in the bed, whatever I could try to do. The contractions were steady, and I would say they were very painful. It was intense pressure with each wave and very little rest in between. I asked to be checked again, convinced I had to be close. I was only 3.5cm. After being in labor this long, looking at the middle of the night, and recognizing that I just wasn’t progressing like I wanted, I asked for the epidural. I needed rest, and my mom and Taylor were exhausted, too. I hoped an epidural would bring some relief and let me sleep. I honestly could have kissed the anesthesiologist. I told him my epidurals before had never really worked, and I always ended up with “hot spots.” He had to place it twice, but he finally got it working, and I could rest.
I expected to be disappointed by this choice. After all, I really wanted to go naturally. But after having been in labor for so long with no change, I felt like I was only torturing myself. Labor should an experience where you feel in control and on top of all the decisions made. I truly feel like I was in control this time. Every decision made was passed by me and approved by me, and the nurses and OB were so amazing at ensuring my experience was the best possible one for me. I laid down and rested and by 10:30AM, I had a little lip of cervix between me and baby. The anesthesiologist had to do another dose of medicine when I started getting hot spots, but it fixed the problem. My epidural was light enough that I could feel all the contractions and pressure, and I could move my legs, but I was no longer fighting against the contractions. When it came time to push, three pushes, and Teddy joined us, screaming and pink.
Now, here’s the hard part. My labor and delivery went so well. I had one tiny tear that required a few stitches, and I was able to get up and walk around almost immediately after Teddy was born. He latched like a champ and took to nursing right away. About six hours after delivery, while we were settled into our recovery room and after my shower, I got up to use the bathroom. As I walked into the bathroom, I felt a ton of pressure and cramping. Suddenly, blood gushed everywhere. Huge clots covered the floor, and the walls looked like a horror film. I yelled to Taylor to get the nurse, and more blood gushed again. I stood there completely shocked, and the nurses rushed in. They put me in the bed, where the gushes kept happening. Soon, my room was filled with nurses and my OB. They gave me percocet, a shot of some of sort, and cytotec to try to stop the bleeding. The OB then explained to me she would have to do a manual extraction, where she would have to reach up into my uterus to pull out the massive clots that were preventing my uterus from contracting back to normal size and containing the bleeding like it should have.
I have never had anything done that felt so horrific. I was screaming and crying and begging for them to stop, but they were pulling out baseball sized clots of blood, and I knew it had to be done. I think this was the point where I honestly thought I might die. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life, and I have certainly never seen so much blood come out of someone and them still live. The OB explained that if they couldn’t stop the bleeding, I would have to go under anesthesia for an emergency D&C and then possibly a hysterectomy if it continued. Once the manual extraction was over, they began a blood transfusion. I received four pints of blood because it was estimated I had lost about two liters (the human body generally has 4.7-5 liters of blood). They pumped me full of fluids. This part is pretty hazy, but I remember being cold and not being able to stop shaking. They kept asking me how I felt and random questions to keep me alert. Poor Taylor and Teddy had to be there the whole time.
Once they had me stabilized, they inserted a postpartum balloon. It was basically a massive balloon that they filled with water to put pressure on my uterus and hopefully help the blood vessels seal. They kept it in overnight, and in the morning, they removed it. I had no more clotting, so I was asked to stay in bed twelve more hours before I started moving around. They kept me another couple of days, but I was finally in the clear.
They speculate that my long labor exhausted my uterus, and when it was time to contract back to normal size, it was contracting but not shrinking. Blood vessels never sealed, and it started a vicious cycle of clotting, releasing the clots, and clotting again. There is no real way of knowing WHY this happened.
I can tell you a few things about this experience:
1) Teddy was our last baby. I can’t risk something like this happening again. Thinking I was about to die was the most terrifying thing in this entire world, and while he is so, so, worth it, I want to be here for Taylor and my babies.
2) I appreciate my little family so much more.
3) I am so incredibly grateful for my medical team. Had I given birth at home or had I been released earlier than 24 hours, I would have bled to death. An ambulance would not have made it in time for me to survive. Which means, if I had birthed anywhere but the hospital, I wouldn’t be here today. That does not mean that I am against home or birth center births, but this experience made me realize how grateful I am that I personally did not chose that path.
4) Having a good hospital staff and OB makes an absolute world of difference. My labor and delivery could not have been more precious to me. My OB that had privatized me the entire pregnancy was actually out of town. I ended up with another female OB, Dr. Jones, who is my new best friend. She was so incredible, and I am so grateful I had her. My nurses handled our labor and following emergency so well. No one panicked or made me feel like they were not in control. Even at the worst moment, Taylor says he did not really think he would lose me because everyone was so competent.
We are home and settled now. I feel pretty rough, but I guess that is to be expected. Teddy is nursing so well, and the big boys are loving him. Teddy has a little jaundice, but we are staying on top of it, and his numbers are lower today, so we feel better about that. I am so grateful things turned out the way they did, and now we are just hunkering down to enjoy this newborn phase.
Posted on | May 24, 2015 | Comments Off
With Memorial Day around the corner, I always struggle with how to embrace this holiday in all its solemnity. Being a military family, Memorial Day brings a certain kind of rawness to our home. It is the reminder that freedom is never free, we try to give thanks and send up prayers for those who have paid the ultimate price and for the families who have lost their loved ones to war.
Earlier this week, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) reached out to see if I would be willing to help them promote their program. If you’re unfamiliar with TAPS, they provide peer-based support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, Good Grief camps for children, connections to community-based care, casualty casework assistance, and a 24/7 resource and information hotline for those who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces community. When these families lose a loved one, they experience so much more than just the pain of loss. They are often stationed far from family, many times not working due to the strain of deployment on their employment, and they may have a great deal of debt or financial concern with their loved one gone. TAPS helps survivors work through their grief and also the practical and financial issues families face.
For the third year in a row, TAPS has partnered with Banfi’s Riunite wine. Between now and July 4th, 60,000 cases of Riunite wine will be in stores and will feature the TAPS dog tags and logo to show support and raise awareness. This wine is reasonably priced (at just $7.99!) and is a great way to support this cause.
Additionally, Riunite is hosting a giveaway where the winner will receive a trip to Washington, D.C. All you have to do is submit your picture with your Riunite wine and TAPS dog tags to be entered (you can find the link here). I hope you enjoy a good bottle of Riunite this Memorial Day or Fourth of July and help support this worthy cause.
Disclaimer: I was provided a bottle of Riunite wine in exchange for my time on this post.
Posted on | May 6, 2015 | 1 Comment
We have been some busy bees. I finished my second semester of grad school a couple weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been cooking a baby, coaching CrossFit…and getting a house ready to sell! Yes, we have made the decision to put our sweet, homey ranch on the market to look for something a bit bigger with space to grow. All while I’m thirty-six-weeks pregnant.
The good news is there isn’t a huge rush. If, for some reason, the house doesn’t sell at the price we need it to in the timeline we need it to, we will take it back off the market around October. We decided to list it now, rather than later, because the market in our neighborhood is a seller’s market right now, our yard looks beautiful from all the Spring blooms, and several other houses are listed in our neighborhood for WAY over our asking price. We are hoping our home provides the perfect way for a young family or empty nesters to get into a great location for less than many of the other homes. We can make do with this size if we have to, but we are itching for a guest room and a younger neighborhood with kids for our boys to play with and a nice back yard. Right now, we back up to a lake. Which is great for some! For me, it’s always been a little bit of a worry with the boys, and I would prefer just a nice, fenced-in space to play.
There’s also something to be said about nesting and readying a house for selling at the same time. My closets and garage are clean! My cabinets are cleaned out! Everything is looking so nice and fresh, so if nothing else, I have a great, clean space for baby.
Here are a few pictures of how it is looking now. These are taken from my iPhone at a weird time of the day, so the Realtor pictures should be better:
Phew! So we have done so much since we moved in:
1) New HVAC and air handler
2) New septic pump tank
3) Wood bamboo floors throughout
4) All new light fixtures/fans
5) New paint in all rooms
6) All new appliances
7) New countertops
8) New landscaping
9) New woodwork throughout
For our next house, here are our must-haves:
1) Move-in ready (minus some paint/fixtures/little fixes)
2) Newish construction
3) 4 bedroom/3 bath
4) Preferably guest suite on lower floor
5) Updated kitchen/appliances
6) Wood floor on lower-level
7) Young, family-friendly neighborhood in our area
8) Nice back yard (fenced-in is a plus!)
9) Two car garage
10) Larger master bathroom
Everything else is give and take, but we are hoping for these staples.
Now, as for the rest of life, things are good! Baby is right on track. Boys are happy, healthy, and excited about the upcoming changes. CrossFit is still going! I am definitely slowing down. I’m at the gym about four times a week at this point, and almost everything has to be modified. I am either having to lower weight or change out movements for things that are more comfortable. Still, it has been helping me so much with feeling pretty good. I am starting to get a bit restless, and I am definitely having some insomnia, but I can’t complain. I’m excited about the summer off of school, and I think a little break will be nice when the baby is here.
So, do y’all have any tips/tricks for us as first-time sellers? I’m admittedly a bit nervous about the whole process. We have a great Realtor who knows we are anxious about our first sell. But regardless, I’m excited about all that is on our plates. Here’s hoping we can keep it all together over the next few weeks!
Celebrating 14 years of cloth diapering with Kelly’s Closet & an AppleCheeks Little Bundle Giveaway!
Posted on | April 2, 2015 | 56 Comments
I cannot tell you how excited I am to be participating in this huge celebration of Kelly’s Closet 14th Anniversary! In April of 2001, Kelly’s Closet began before big-name brands like Thirsties, AppleCheeks, BumGenius, and GroVia were even in existence. It now home to over 100 brands of cloth diapers, diapering accessories, nursing products, and eco-friendly items for your entire family. One of the things I truly love about Kelly’s Closet is that it is a small, family-owned business that takes the time to focus on customer service and creating real, meaningful relationships with customers. My boys have spent the first weeks at home in Kelly’s Closet products, and Kelly’s Closet diapers have adorned their fluffy bottoms through potty-training. After potty-training, Kelly’s Closet was my go-to for postpartum and nursing gear. Now, I am turning to them again as I am expecting baby number three in June!
Over the next 13 days, Kelly’s Closet has partnered with some of their favorite brands and bloggers to bring you some amazing giveaways! Each day, new items will be added posted to the giveaway on the Cloth Diaper Whisperer Blog and shared via social media. All giveaways are ending April 14th at midnight ET, so be sure to get your entries in soon!
Be sure to follow Kelly’s Closet Social Media pages for more chances to win!
Facebook: DiaperShops, Kelly’s Closet, Cloth Diaper Support Group, The Cloth Diaper Whisperer
Instagram: @DiaperShops #kellyscloset #fluffiversary #clothdiapers
Twitter: @DiaperShops #kellyscloset #fluffiversary #clothdiapers
Be sure to thank the following brands for sponsoring the Fluff-iversary Celebration with their prizes. Rumparooz, AppleCheeks, BALM! Baby, Moraki, Logan & Lenora, Tidy Tots, Rockin’ Green, Imagine Baby, Geffen Baby, aden+anais, WolbyBug, Sweet Pea Diapers, Kissaluvs, Funky Fluff, Smart Bottoms, Thirsties, Pink Lemonade and Lillebaby.
Today, we are kicking it off with an AppleCheeks Microterry Little Bundle! If you’ve followed my blog, you know we are big AppleCheeks fans here in this house. I have a newborn stash of diapers that consists of half AppleCheeks Size Ones in a rainbow of colors just waiting for this babe to arrive. They can be used as a pocket diaper or as an All-in-Two, and I love the diversity of them!
Enter to win on the form below, and GOOD LUCK!
Posted on | March 31, 2015 | 6 Comments
In the cloth diapering world, there is hashtag that is being promoted by several amazing companies and bloggers; #makeclothdiapersmainstreamchallenge
Combined with video testimonials from the bloggers, giveaways from the sponsors, and a Facebook page for challengers to ask questions and receive feedback, the event has blown up on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. People everywhere are taking the challenge to cloth diaper their baby for the first time or to start again if they gave up years ago with other children.
I love this movement. When I started cloth diapering Sullivan years ago, I had to scour the Internet, seek out local boutiques who had a handful of cloth diapers in their inventory, and ask diaper companies directly for guidance. Having information readily available for parents is amazing, and it is so great to see them taking initiative and the plunge into cloth.
One continuous theme I am noticing is mothers asking for budget-friendly ways to begin cloth diapering. They are often inundated by replies that they should seek out “China cheapies!!!” because they are “amazing and work just as well as my expensive diapers.” Let me be the first to say, I understand the need to stay to a budget. While cloth diapering saves a great deal of money in the long run, it can be a cost-prohibitive upfront expense that many families struggle to justify. Not everyone has $600-$2000+ to dole out to companies for top-of-the-line all-in-ones, pockets, and hybrids. I absolutely, 100% get it.
HOWEVER, china cheapie diapers are not all they are cracked up to be. People are lured in by the promise of $5.00 pocket diapers that are “awesome!”, but in reality, they are supporting a brand that pays unfair labor wages, does not comply with CSPIA standards, and blantantly rips off other brands and designs patented in the United States. So what does this mean?
1) If diapers are not CSPIA compliant, they are not tested for lead and other harmful chemicals. Your diapers may contain some pretty nasty things that you are trying to avoid on your baby’s skin. Some of these brands include, but are not limited to, Kawaii (made in Canada, but not currently CSPIA compliant), Alva Baby, Sunbaby, Thx Diapers.
2) Many brands rip-off patents from hardworking U.S. companies. They use selling points like double gussets taken from designs of well-known brands. Every time they do that, they are taking money out of the pockets of hard working families who have funded and created cloth diaper companies here in the US (or Canada).
3) These illegitimate diapers can only be sold via co-ops, through eBay, or occasionally on their sketchy websites. That is because the are illegal in the United States. If the feds ever DO decide to come after these companies, the mothers sponsoring these co-ops are going to be some of the first who are caught. Think about the “knock off parties” and purses being sold out of the trunks of cars. Those who sell them are the ones going down first.
4) Poor living wages are paid to the people working in these diaper factories. While ethically avoiding every product made in China is virtually impossible for most people, understanding where your product comes from and how the companies who have sent manufacturing overseas support their workers is very important. The vast majority of legitimate diaper companies in the US who outsource labor also work very hard to ensure their workers are taken care of and fairly compensated for their time and effort.
5) If something goes wrong with your diapers, you have no one to turn to. If you purchase from a legitimate company, there are warranties, FAQs, and real people to contact for troubleshooting or quality issues.
So what can you do? Well, when we know better, we do better. I’m not saying that if you already own these diapers that you should trash them right away, but these reasons are things to consider when making purchases in the future. There are so many ways to cloth diaper inexpensively and effectively without resorting to questionable products.
Flour Sack Towels, Flats, Prefolds, and Covers-
You can’t find a simpler, more efficient system than sticking to the old school basics. Flour sack towels can be found in virtually any grocery store. Flats and prefolds are all over the place, made a good quality materials, and are very inexpensive. For example, an Econobum kit comes with three diaper covers, twelve prefolds, and a wetbag for just under $65.00. By two for just over $130.00 with taxes, and you can easily cloth diaper your child. It may not be as flashy as other systems, but it works and it’s cheap. Other great covers include Thirsties , Bummis , Flip, and Rumparooz. In a pinch, you can use receiving blankets or even old t-shirts as prefolds or flats. Anything goes.
There are great, inexpensive pockets available too!
Buy used or borrow-
Buying used always skeeves people out at first. But diapers are easy to sanitize, and they are meant to be reusable! There are tons of Facebook swaps (like this one or this one). A quick search will reveal almost any brand has it’s own buy/sale/trade group. Some brands have “HTF” (hard-to-find) prints where the resale can skyrocket, but most have reasonable resell value and can be purchased for under retail in great shape. Just make sure you really pay attention to condition description, ask for pictures, always pay through PayPal as goods, and when possible, check the seller’s feedback. Unfortunately, scammers do exist. Unless you’re handy with a sewing machine, you’ll want to find diapers with good elastics and fleece (or whatever inner is specific to that brand), and you want to ensure that if it is a PUL diaper, the PUL does not have any cracks or tears. Discolorations, small holes in organic fabrics, stains, and fading and not real problems, and buying diapers with a few cosmetic issues can be cheap.
Buy from retailers with coupons and rewards-
I buy almost all my diapers from Kelly’s Closet. Sometimes they have in stock what I want, and sometimes I have to wait. But I am able to earn points for every dollar I spend, and these points can be redeemed for great gift cards I can put towards more diapers or products. They also have weekly/monthly coupon codes that are often for a free diaper or cover. I would venture a guess that I have earned somewhere in the ballpark of $300 worth of free diapers by buying only from Kelly’s Closet, purchasing on double points days, always waiting for a coupon, and redeeming my points for free diapers. Almost every retailer offers some version of these rewards, so be sure to shop around and find what best suits you.
I know. It’s a pain in the ass to have to search for giveaways. But they are EVERYWHERE, and for a couple minutes of your time, you just might win a free diaper. I take a few minutes out of every day to search for new giveaways, enter, and be done with it. I’ve probably one a handful of times over the course of five years. It’s not a guarantee, but when you’re on a budget, any giveaway is worth a little effort.
Apply to receive free diapers-
If you are truly in need of diapers and do not have the funds to support the purchase, there are several banks and charities available that will give diapers to qualifying families. I also urge you to donate if you are fortunate enough to have extra diapers on hand. One example is “Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.”
Posted on | March 30, 2015 | 2 Comments
I’m hesitant to write this post after putting it all out there before Arlo was born and having our birth plan go very differently than anticipated. I was surprised at how hard women can be on other mother’s because they don’t agree with their particular method of bringing their child into the world. If you were following me then, you may remember our plan was to go 100% naturally. Several things worked against our favor. I tested positive for Group B Strep and had to receive antibiotics, which meant I did not labor as long at home as I had planned.
I received criticism for not holistically treating the strep instead of receiving antibiotics.
Next, the OBs who had been there with me through my pregnancy and who supported my birth plan were not on-call.
I was criticized for choosing to delivery in a hospital instead of a birth center.
The nurse who was my primary nurse was absolutely horrible, completely not in my side of the ring, and had me sobbing within minutes of arriving at the hospital. The OB was foreign, and I’m afraid some of our conversation was lost in translation.
I was criticized by not speaking up enough while in active labor.
The OB and nurse insisted I had to be in the bed on constant fetal monitoring.
I was criticized for not saying no.
At the end of 33 hours of labor, I finally gave in to an epidural. It never took. I delivered an hour later. Poor Arlo had mild shoulder dystocia and was born bruised and battered. It took my midwife (who I wish had been there all along) pushing on my uterus to help turn him appropriately for delivery. Recovery was easier than with Sully, physically, but mentally, I beat myself up over and over for giving in to the hospital “policies”, for not speaking up enough, and for not holding out longer for the epidural.
I learned quite a bit from his delivery. I learned I can always say “NO” to procedures, and I will keep that in mind with this baby. Unless something is medically necessary for the health and safety of mom and baby, I will be saying no. I learned that the bed absolutely stalls my labor, and I progress much better while moving around and laboring how I feel most comfortable. I will refuse to get in the bed this time unless something happens where the baby or I absolutely need constant monitoring. With Sully, I never really experienced labor. With Arlo, I learned that I am capable of handling it, what it feels like, and what is “normal.” I will be less fearful this time.
My OB and her staff are on my side this time. They know my story. They are supportive of natural labor, and they have promised me more freedom and flexibility this time. I will be delivering in a hospital equipped with whirlpool tubs and labor balls. I have a much shorter car ride this time. Tay and I have talked about transition and what I need from him to help get through it all. My mom and sister will be there to provide more support or extra voices if we need them. I’ve thought a great deal about connecting with this baby during labor and remember that we are in this process together.
Mostly, I’m excited this time. I don’t feel anxious. I don’t feel nervous. I just feel the pull of anticipation about something great. I think I will keep some of our birth plan closer to the heart this time. I don’t feel it is healthy or normal for women to criticize how others choose to give birth, and putting it all out there on the blog always leads to someone’s negative opinion.
We will be finding out the sex of this baby on his or her birthday, and our family and friends will be learning the sex and name of the baby. So, I am greatly looking forward to that moment when we can share those special things.
Only six to eight (ish) more weeks.keep looking »